This week, we mourn the loss of a Hero of the Holocaust. Auschwitz. The name alone invokes the horrors that millions faced there, a place where the Nazis murdered a million Jewish people. As we vow to never again let such hatred in our world, to never forget the lessons of the Holocaust, every day those who survived pass away. And today we learn that so, too, has the last surviving soldier to liberate Auschwitz. MSN reports on the death of David Dushman, the 98-year-old veteran of the Red Army and last surviving member present at the death camp’s liberation:
Tags: Auschwitz Heroes of the Holocaust History MSN
“Every witness to history who passes on is a loss, but saying farewell to David Dushman is particularly painful,” said Charlotte Knobloch, a former head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews. “Dushman was right on the front lines when the National Socialists’ machinery of murder was destroyed.”
As a young Red Army soldier, Dushman flattened the forbidding electric fence around the notorious Nazi death camp with his T-34 tank on Jan. 27, 1945.
He admitted that he and his comrades didn’t immediately realize the full magnitude of what had happened in Auschwitz.
“Skeletons everywhere,” he recalled in a 2015 interview with Munich newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. “They stumbled out of the barracks, they sat and lay among the dead. Terrible. We threw them all of our canned food and immediately drove on, to hunt fascists.”
More than a million people, most of them Jews deported there from all over Europe, were murdered by the Nazis at Auschwitz-Birkenau between 1940 and 1945.
Dushman earlier took part in some of the bloodiest military encounters of World War II, including the battles of Stalingrad and Kursk. He was seriously wounded three times but survived the war, one of just 69 soldiers in his 12,000-strong division…